Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 6:48 AM

UN Peacekeepers Preying on Helpless Haitians?! Yes

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

There have been many reports over the years on peacekeepers standing by and watching warring factions kill each other – as they did, to the U.N.’s eternal shame, in Rwanda.

3139779.largeThere have not been nearly as many reports, however, on peacekeepers exacerbating the scourge of civil strife by preying on people who depend on them for protection.

This is why it might surprise you to learn that U.N. peacekeepers have a reputation for preying on helpless girls that rivals the reputation Catholic priests have for preying on little boys. More to the point, the United Nations has shown even less interest in protecting helpless girls from predatory peacekeepers than the Catholic Church has shown in protecting little boys from predatory priests.

In fact, I was so dismayed by the U.N.’s betrayal of trust in this respect that I wrote “The United Nations: Corrupt from Head to Toe?” June 17, 2005, which begins as follows:

The leadership of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was severely compromised earlier this year, when reports revealed that he did little to prevent U.N. foot soldiers from inflicting widespread abuses upon those they were deployed to protect. That many of these abuses occurred in refugee camps in Africa, where rape and molestation rivaled the horrors of war and starvation these refugees were trying to escape, made his failure all the more shameful.

haitidemo_groupFolks, that was ten years ago this week. Therefore, it speaks volumes that the U.N. has allowed peacekeepers to continue their predatory exploits with impunity – as a June 11 investigative report in the Washington Post makes patently clear:

The U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services — a U.N. watchdog within the U.N. — said members of a peacekeeping mission had ‘transactional sex’ with more than 225 Haitian women. The women traded sex for basic needs, including food and medication.

‘For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,’’ the report said. In exchange for sex, women got ‘church shoes, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money’ from peacekeepers.

Women in Haiti sometimes protested when peacekeepers who said they would pay for sex did not, but most were unaware the United Nations prohibited sexual exploitation and has a hotline to report it.

Given this report and my analogy to priests above, I feel obliged to clarify that these peacekeepers target little boys too. Reports in early 2012 on the contingent of Pakistani peacekeepers who raped a mentally disabled 14-year-old Haitian boy in Gonaives threw this into stark relief. And, yes, the U.N. shielded them with its blanket of immunity….

Meanwhile, I fear the U.N.’s Internal Oversight Services (with its Orwellian name) will have cause to draft a report about peacekeepers perpetrating similar abuses on some other peacekeeping mission ten years from now.

But I’m all too mindful that my feelings of frustration and fecklessness pale in comparison to the feelings of desperation and hopelessness victims of these abuses must suffer. Therefore, before I wax too indignant, I shall end by confessing that, despite my informed cynicism, even I was shocked in one respect by this U.N. report.

I have always felt (and in fact wrote in “Haiti’s Living Nightmare Continues,” March 7, 2005) that Haiti looms amidst the islands of the Caribbean, just as Africa does amidst the continents of the world: as a dark, destitute, diseased, desperate, disenfranchised, dishonest, disorganized, disassociated, dangerous and, ultimately, dysfunctional mess. Therefore, I was hardly surprised in 2004, when the U.N. launched its mission:

…to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights.

(United Nations.org/peacekeeping/missions/minustah)

106521-20120123But I never imagined peacekeepers would dare perpetrate the kinds of abuses they got away with in distant Africa so close to home (namely U.N. headquarters in New York City). Yet, dare they did – even with reporters foraging all over Haiti looking for stories in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Haitians have become a migration menace throughout the Caribbean for some of the same understandable reasons Africans have throughout Europe. Fear of UN peacekeepers raping them, however, should not be one of those reasons.

In any event, this Post report is only the latest indication that my abiding prayers for the godforsaken people of Haiti are all in vain.

Related commentaries:
United Nations
Haiti’s living nightmare

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

My Books

VFC Painting

Archive

Subscribe via Email


Powered by FeedBlitz